Need an attorney for a fraud case? By law, criminal fraud is said to have been committed if the act that was made resulted in benefits that were either undeserved or obtained unfairly, or if the act that was committed caused harm or personal loss to another person. To further define acts of fraud, the state of California has recognized the most frequent motives behind such as acts and defined them as financial gain and / or the intent to escape criminal responsibility. That is not to say, however, that another means of fraud cannot be committed.

In fact, at the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, our lead Orange County criminal defense attorney has seen a number of white collar offenses that involve crimes of this nature, as well as those that extend beyond the confines of the examples listed above.

In the state of California, crimes of fraud are recognized as "wobbler" offenses. This means that the behaviors which have landed a defendant under criminal prosecution can be charged as a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense, depending on certain circumstances. These circumstances include the specific facts surrounding the case at hand, and the criminal history of the defendant who has been accused. There are some fraudulent offenses, however, that will always be charged as a felony, given the severity of the nature and intent behind them. No matter what, allegations of fraud to any degree must be addressed by a defense attorney whose skills can effectively protect against the potential penalties of a conviction.


There are many ways to commit an act of fraud; so many, in fact, that some individuals are unaware that their actions were fraudulent in nature at the time that they were committed.

To break it down, we have listed the most common types of fraudulent offenses that are committed in California:
  • Car insurance fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Financial fraud
  • Handicapped parking fraud
  • Health care fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Nursing home fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Senior fraud
  • Unemployment insurance fraud
  • Vehicle registration fraud
  • Welfare fraud
  • Workers' compensation fraud


Forgery and identity theft can also be classified as acts of fraud. In fact, these two offenses often go hand in hand with one another. The forging of an official document usually involves some form of self-identification, thereby connecting the fraudulent attempt to forge a document as a simultaneous act of identity theft. As a result, persons who are charged of committing this type of fraud could be convicted for violation of the state's forgery laws, as well as the state's identity theft laws.

Among the most common types of fraudulent behaviors that involve both identity theft and forgery are the possession of a public seal, driver's license, or state ID card that is not your own. The state of California also has a False Personation Law which pertains to both of these criminal acts as well. If you're found guilty of any one of these offenses, or that of internet fraud, you could be facing serious penalties. Employing the professional efforts of an experienced and qualified defense attorney will allow for the best chances at escaping conviction, so you should not wait to speak with the Law Office of Frances Prizzia today.


At our office, a skilled legal representative is on hand to meet with you to discuss the circumstances which led to your arrest. Skilled in our efforts, and experienced in the defense that we've provided for many years , we feel confident in our ability to effectively defend you against the allegations of fraud that you're currently facing.

We offer a free consultation to all new clients. Call now for compassionate and dedicated defense.



California Penal Code 518 describes the act of extortion, as it relates to blackmail, as the involvement of any one of the following four types of threats:
  • Threat to injure a person or property
  • Threat to target an individual or his / her family with disgrace, harm, or crime
  • Threat to accuse the targeted individual or his / her family of a crime
  • Threat to reveal secret information which would affect the targeted individual or his / her family

​​​​​​The state's Penal Code further describes such acts as ones that use force or threats to compel the actions of another (specifically, to prompt another person to give over money or property); acts that use threats to force a public law enforcement officer to perform an unlawful act; and acts made by a public official who wishes to compel another person to hand over money or property by claiming that it is their official right to make this kind of demand.

Searching for an attorney for extortion in Orange County? The crime of extortion is commonly referred to as blackmail, and this is primarily because its definition hinges on the use of force or fear to accomplish the task of obtaining property.


Crimes of extortion / blackmail are particularly complex because they can involve making a threat that is actually legal. The threat only becomes one of blackmail when it is made in tangent with a caveat such as requiring another person to act in a certain way in order to avoid follow-through of the threats that were made. For example, the threat to inform police of suspicious activity is legal in and of itself; however, it becomes illegal if it is made in addition to a condition that requires the threatened person to give over a personal belonging of any sort.

California law denotes a difference between making a legal threat and committing blackmail / extortion. As such, it will be up to the prosecutor to prove that the actions that the defendant has been accused of are actually ones of extortion. To do this, the prosecuting attorney must be able to unequivocally prove all four of the elements that have been defined as components of an extortion offense: 1) the obtainment of another person's property; 2) the obtainment of property through consent; 3) the consent was derived through wrongful use of fear and / or threat; and, 4) the wrongful use of fear or force was intentionally used to convince another person to consent to handing over their property.


Although extortion crimes are heavily prosecuted in court, this does not mean that a defense cannot be built on behalf of defendants who've been accused of the crime. In fact, there are many effective means of challenging the allegations of extortion that are made, and an experienced defense attorney can help you come up with the method that is best fit for your situation.

Extortion is most often charged as a felony, making defendants susceptible to a prison sentence of up to four years (with a minimum two-year sentence). Whether or not the actual attempt at extortion is completed, the defendant can be penalized almost equally as harshly, simply for their intent to blackmail another. This means that the $10,000 fine and potential jail time of a conviction for the follow-through of an act of extortion could be administered to the defendant whose attempts were not fully executed. According to law, proven intent is enough to elicit a conviction.

To ensure that you stand the best chance at escaping conviction for extortion, your attorney needs to build a defense that can effectively protect you in court. To do so, a closer examination of the behaviors which led to your arrest will need to be examined. A critical aspect to crimes of extortion is the consent behind such acts. Therefore, this is also a critical tool that can be used during your defense case. If your defense attorney can prove that consent was made based on a reason other than the use of force or threat, you could be able to dodge conviction.

Other lines of defense include claiming that false accusations resulted in the wrongful arrest of an innocent defendant. It is not uncommon for an angry or spiteful person to irrationally accuse another person of a crime that they did not commit. When this is the case, it will be up to your Orange County criminal defense attorney to declare your innocence and prove the reasoning behind it. Criminal defense lawyers can also stage a defense on insufficient evidence, stating that not enough evidence exists to unequivocally convict the defendants of the crime for which they've been accused.


Looking for a lawyer for extortion in Orange County? At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, the aggressive defense you need to get the effective results you deserve will be delivered in spades. Here, we focus on the individual needs of our clients, which means that a completely unique line of defense will be established for each and every defendant that we represent in court. Whether you've been accused of extortion or another white collar criminal offense, we are here to help protect you from the penalties of an ultimate conviction.

Contact us today for more info about the methods of defense that can be utilized on your behalf.



Need a lawyer for an embezzlement case? Embezzlement crimes are classified as white collar offenses, which, by default, make them business-related. The nicknames for this offense derive from the crime's original definition, which identifies acts in which something is unlawfully taken by a person who has been entrusted with it. Employees who have been entrusted with the personal property or belongings of another under legal decree are those persons who are at risk of being accused of embezzlement.

Looking closely at its definition, embezzlement is classified as more than just a white collar crime it falls under the umbrella of a theft offense as well. As such, charges of this nature can be very serious, as they represent criminal activity from two different aspects of the criminal justice system – white collar crimes and theft crimes. If you're facing criminal allegations for the embezzlement of another person's property, your charges will be prosecuted under Penal Code 503 which is a derivation of Penal Code 484 theft. An Orange County criminal attorney from our firm can further explain this to you in person.


In order to fully understand why you were formally charged for embezzlement, you need to first understand the different methods by which an act of this nature can be executed.



As noted earlier, crimes of embezzlement are classified under the umbrella of theft. As such, the penalties upon conviction will reflect the punishments that are indicated in Penal Code 487 grand theft or Penal Code 488 petty theft. If the amount that was embezzled values more than $950, the embezzlement crime will be convicted as a grand theft offense; if it values less than $950, it will be convicted as a petty theft offense.

The penalties that a defendant will face upon conviction depend upon a couple of circumstances, especially if they have been convicted for grand theft. Referred to as a "wobbler" by some legal professionals, grand theft penalties are determined by examining a couple of extenuating factors. Firstly, the specific circumstances involved in the case will be analyzed. Secondly, the criminal history of the defendant will be analyzed. Only then will a decision be made as to how the crime will be punished, i.e. as a misdemeanor or felony offense.

As with every type of criminal behavior, the degree of your penalties will depend on the severity of your charges. Misdemeanor petty theft embezzlements could result in up to six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Misdemeanor grand theft embezzlements could result in up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Felony grand theft embezzlements could result in up to three years in California State Prison and up to $10,000. Looking at the wide spectrum of penalties that could be faced upon conviction, it is clear that only an experienced and aggressive defense attorney should be employed on your behalf.

Looking for an attorney for your embezzlement case in Orange County? Contact us today to get started!



At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we understand that it can be difficult to interpret the legal meaning behind your criminal charges. The complexities of the criminal justice system are best understood under the guidance of a professional attorney, which is why our lead Orange County criminal lawyer has taken the time to further explain your charges and the penalties you'll face if a conviction is made.


California Penal Code 182 very specifically states the circumstances under which a crime of conspiracy has been committed. As such, it is important to understand the brevity of allegations that have been made against you.

Criminal conspiracy is only said to have been committed if the following circumstances are met:
  • Two or more persons have mutually agreed to commit a crime
  • One of the people involved in this agreement overtly acted beyond the agreement that was made

What can be particularly tricky about conspiracy crimes is the fact that the act of furtherance which was committed by another person does not need to involve criminal activity in and of itself. The act simply needs to be executed prior to the pre-determined time for which the original crime was scheduled to be committed.


Charges for the criminal act of conspiracy hinge on many factors, most of which require the interpretation of law enforcement professionals as well as legal professionals. The detailing of the definition of this crime significantly impacts its meaning, and thus, the way it is charged and convicted.

Take, for example, the word "overt." Although a seemingly inconsequential part of the larger definition, this single word represents a lot more than might first meet the eye. Overt actions that are made in crimes of conspiracy relate specifically to those behaviors which are enacted in order to accomplish a previously agreed-upon crime. Overt acts must be committed before the actual crime has been completed, and they must be actions that are made in addition to the original intent of the criminal plan that was devised. If you aren't an attorney, however, it is unlikely that you would be aware of intimate details such as these.

Additional circumstances must also be taken into consideration before a professional can confidently identify a criminal activity as conspiratorial in nature. Given the legal meaning behind the crime's official definition, there is a lot of room for subjection, and possibly even interpretation.

Conspiracy crimes do not require that the overt, premature act be criminal, nor do they require that the original criminal plan be followed through with in the end. Furthermore, an explicit agreement between conspirators does not need to exist in order for a person's activity to be classified as conspiratorial.

The more it's examined, the more the definition of conspiracy is widened. A closer look at the meaning of the definition shows that conspiracy can include both criminal and non-criminal overt activities; it can involve the actual execution of the original plan, or it can be devoid of actual completion; it can be made by formal agreement, or it can be made in the absence of formal agreement. The lines are unclear, so it will be the job of a defense attorney to clarify the legal boundaries of your charges and the criminality behind the actions that were taken. Only then do you stand a chance of escaping conviction.


Searching for an Orange County lawyer for a conspiracy case? Building a defense on behalf of someone who has been accused of conspiracy is a complicated task given the complexity of the crime itself. This does not mean, however, that legal defense is impossible. In fact, there are a number of professional arguments and legal challenges that can be posed to a prosecuting attorney's criminal allegations.

Specifically, many common methods of defense against conspiracy charges include utilization of one or more of the following:
  • No agreement between two or more people ever existed, whether written or verbal
  • No overt act was committed in furtherance of the pre-planned activity that was established
  • The defendant prematurely withdrew from the conspiratorial plans that were made
  • A false accusation was made
  • A mistake of law was made

Escaping the penalties of conviction for a conspiracy crime requires the ability of your legal defender to prove that one of the above circumstances was at play when you were first accused of the crime. While difficult, this is not an impossible task, especially when you enlist the defensive representation of the right attorney.

Therefore, we urge you to waste not another minute before contacting a professional at our office for legal advice. Under our guidance, you can move in the right direction toward the freedom you stand to lose if a conviction is ultimately made.


Orange County white collar crime lawyer

It is easy to overlook criminal charges for white-collar crimes. Many defendants don't realize that the penalties for white-collar crime convictions can be serious. At Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers, our Orange County criminal defense attorney is here to provide a robust defense. If you are facing white-collar criminal charges, you need experienced lawyers to defend you. Our law offices are ready to defend those falsely accused.

Learn more about white-collar crime and fraud charges below. Then, contact us to schedule a case consultation.

Our Orange County White Collar Crime Lawyer Will Provide an Aggressive Defense

Orange County white collar crime lawyer will provide a robust defense

Facing white-collar crime charges in Orange County can be daunting. It has potential consequences that could affect the rest of your life. Our Orange County white-collar crime lawyer is here to provide a robust defense against these charges. We draw on years of experience and a deep understanding of the law and the local court system. We are committed to exploring every avenue to protect your rights. We fight for the best possible outcome in your case. We carefully analyze the evidence and employ strategic legal tactics. Then, we challenge the prosecution's case at every turn.

Our approach to defense is thorough and personalized. We recognize that each white-collar crime case comes with its unique complexities. We take the time to understand your side of the story. This allows us to tailor our defense strategy to suit your specific situation. Whether negotiating for reduced charges or arguing your case in court, you can count on our legal team to advocate tirelessly on your behalf. Trust us to navigate the intricate legal landscape of white-collar crime. We ensure you receive the dedicated and effective representation you deserve.

What Is a White Collar Crime?

What is white collar crime

White-collar crime refers to various non-violent crimes typically committed for financial gain. These crimes often involve deceit, fraud, or breach of trust and are usually associated with individuals or organizations in professional or corporate environments. Common examples include embezzlement, insider trading, fraud, and money laundering. Due to their sophisticated nature, these crimes can be complex to prosecute and defend and require a deep understanding of legal principles and financial practices.

The impact of being charged with a white-collar crime can extend far beyond potential legal penalties. It can damage reputations, end careers, and have lasting effects on personal and professional relationships. That's why it's important to have an experienced white-collar crime lawyer. We can navigate the legal system and work to mitigate these consequences. Our legal team is skilled in handling the nuances of these cases. We strive to safeguard your future and minimize the impact of the charges against you.

White-Collar Crimes Vs. Other Crimes 

When you think of someone who commits a crime, you typically think of someone who commits rape, assault, burglary, robbery, arson, or vandalism. These types of crimes are the most common and usually violent.

There is an entirely different type of crime that typically goes unnoticed: white-collar crimes. These accused individuals are people with high social status, esteem, and respect. They sometimes engage in illegal activity with completely different motives. They are financially motivated. They are more likely to commit acts of fraud for illegal personal gain. Those accused are highly intelligent, educated, and affluent individuals. They take advantage of their position at some point during their occupation.

We Have a Variety of Defense Strategies We Can Use


White-collar professionals often hold jobs that involve having access to hefty sums of money. Sooner or later, some individuals take advantage of their predisposition, and white-collar criminal action is born. White-collar crimes are not violent, but defendants should not be fooled into believing that they are treated with any more leniency. Some common examples of white-collar offenses include:

Conspiracy: In order for a crime of conspiracy to be committed, both conditions of California Penal Code 182 must be unequivocally proven. These conditions are as follows: 1) the mutual agreement between two or more people to commit a crime, and 2) the overt action of one person from the agreement, which extends beyond the terms of the original agreement that was made.

Embezzlement: Embezzlement is both a white-collar offense and a theft offense because it involves the unlawful taking of something by the person entrusted to protect it. Common forms of embezzlement include falsifying records, creating false vendor accounts, and other Ponzi-like financial schemes. It is usually charged under California Penal Code 503.

Extortion: Extortion is also known as blackmail because it involves obtaining the personal property of another through the use of fear or force. Threats that can be used as blackmail in an act of extortion include the threat of injury, defamation, criminal accusation, and the threat to reveal secret/personal information about a targeted individual. It is usually charged under California Penal Code 518.

Fraud: Benefits that are obtained through unfair means, as well as benefits that are undeservedly received, are often reasons to suspect fraudulent behavior. Crimes of fraud are defined as those that use deceit to unlawfully obtain something that would not otherwise be given to you, and they almost always involve causing personal harm or loss to another person. Accusations of Orange County fraud are serious. Let us provide a strong defense.

Examples of fraud include cybercrimes, insider trading, copyright infringement, identity theft, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, forgery, and bribery. Variations of fraud can also be categorized as white-collar offenses, adding to this list of criminal activity additional behaviors such as bankruptcy fraud, credit card fraud, health care fraud, insurance fraud, and mortgage fraud.


The FBI sums up White-collar crimes as being "…the full range of frauds committed by business and government officials." These crimes and schemes are becoming more and more sophisticated as technology advances. Authorities have been cracking down on white-collar offenders and enhancing the penalties. These include a combination of monetary fines, incarceration, restitution to the victim, community service, and probation.

Since these crimes involve fraud and theft, offenders will be subject to petty or grand theft penalties. They are found under California Penal Code Sections 486-490. You can also be charged with an "aggravated white-collar crime." This is penalized under Code Section 186. An "aggravated" charge usually means the defendant embezzled or defrauded $100,000 or more. They could have five years added to their prison sentence and pay fines of up to $500,000.


If you or a loved one is involved in a white-collar crime, you must seek aggressive legal protection. You must protect yourself from tough prosecution. These crimes are punished to the fullest extent of the law, and your attorney could be the only person between you and a prison sentence.

At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, we offer compassionate, aggressive, and dedicated criminal defense when you need it most. Our lead attorney, Frances Prizzia, is a former public defender with a driving passion for producing results. She is also fluent in Tagalog. Together, we will do everything in our power to reduce your charges. We may even have you dismissed on a full acquittal of all charges.

Get the assertive legal advocacy you need. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Contact Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers to Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Orange County White Collar Crime Lawyer

Contact Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with our Orange County

If you're facing charges for a white-collar crime in Orange County, you need a strong defense. Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers offers the expert representation you need. We can navigate these complex cases. Our dedicated Orange County white-collar crime lawyer is ready to develop a robust defense strategy. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.